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 It has been conventional for mathematics to be

categorized into pure and applied. This
categorization would have baffled the great
mathematicians of old times, for them, math is math.
 In their time, when they introduce themselves as
mathematicians, no one asks them “What
specialization?” Can you imagine just how vast their
field is?
 Their contributions have led us to advantages in all
aspects of life, most especially, modernization.
Carl Friedrich Gauss

 Abstract numerical patterns
 Called the number theory as the queen of
 Calculated the orbit of Ceres, first asteroid
 After the discovery of Ceres, it passed
behind the sun and was no longer
observable. Astronomers need accurate
calculation of its orbit to allow them to see it
find it once it becomes visible again.
Carl Friedrich Gauss

 Responsible for major developments in
surveying, telegraphy and the
understanding of magnetism.
 His work remains useful until this day.
Brook Taylor

 English mathematician
 1714: Published fundamental
vibrational frequency of a
violin string in terms of its
length, tension and density.
Jean Le Rond d’Alembert

 French mathematician
 1746: He proved that
vibrations of violin string are
not sinusoidal standing
waves but could be any
Leonhard Euler

 Swiss mathematician
 1748: In response to
d’Alembert’s work, formulated
and solved the “wave equation”
for a string.
 End string remains fixed and the
string can be any shape
Daniel Bernoulli

 Originally from Antwerp, then
moved to Germany and finally to
Switzerland to escape religious
 Also solved the wave equation, but
on a different method.
 General solution can be
represented as a superposition of
infinitely many sinusoidal standing
Euler and Bernoulli

 Their different method of solving the wave equation
led to a century-long controversy.
 It was eventually resolved when they were both
declared correct.
 They are both right because it was explained that:
Every periodically varying shape can be represented
as a superposition of an infinite number of sine

 With the resolution of the mystery of the violin
string, the mathematicians went hunting for a bigger
 The mathematicians turned their attention to drums.
A violin string is only one-dimensional, so drums
became the next obvious musical instrument for it’s a
surface not a straight line making it two

Mathematicians understanding of the wave
equation grew and later on began to move out
of the musical domain. Wave equation became
an absolutely central feature of mathematical
Wave equation made us understand the
hidden unity in nature.
Wave equation is everywhere…

Fluid dynamics: describes the formation and
nature of water waves.
Theory of sound: transmission of sound
waves-vibrations of air where molecules
become alternately compressed and

 What changed human culture forever was its
application on theories of Electricity and Magnetism.
 Electricity and Magnetism have a long complicated
history that is far more complex than the wave
 There were accidental discoveries and key
experiments including mathematical and physical
William Gilbert

Physician to Elizabeth I
He described the Earth as a
huge magnet and observed
that electrically charged
bodies can attract or repel
each other.
Benjamin Franklin

1752: proved that
lighting is a form of
electricity by flying a
kite in a thunderstorm.
Luigi Galvani

Noted that electrical
sparks caused a dead
frog’s muscles to
Alessandro Volta

Invented the first battery
Michael Faraday

 English physicist and chemist
 He was fascinated of electricity
and magnetism.
 He knew that electric current
could hold a magnetic force and
that a magnet could produce an
electric current.
 In 1831 he succeeded and shown
that electricity and magnetism are
two aspects of electromagnetism.
Michael Faraday

 King William IV asked him what use his scientific
were and he answered: “I do not know Your
Majesty, but I do know that one day you will tax
them.” Practical uses soon followed and the electric
motor and electrical generator was invented.
 Faraday also advanced the theory of
electromagnetism: magnetic force does not act “at a
distance” but instead propagated through space
along curved lines. The same went for electrical
James Clerk Maxwell

 Successor of Faraday, Mathematician
 He expressed Faraday’s ideas in terms
of mathematical equations-
distributions of magnetic and
electrical charge throughout space.
 1864: He refined his theory down to
four differential equations and these
revealed a curious symmetry between
electricity and magnetism, each
affecting the other in a similar

 It is through the elegant symbolism of Maxwell’s
equations had humanity made a leap from violins to
 A series of algebraic manipulations extracted wave
equation from Maxwell’s equations-which implied
the existence of electromagnetic waves.

 Moreover, the wave equation implied that these
electromagnetic waves traveled with the speed of
light. One immediate deduction is that light itself is
an electromagnetic wave.
 Just as the violin string can vibrate at many
frequencies-so can the electromagnetic field
according to the wave equation.

 Strings with different frequencies produce different
 Visible electromagnetic waves with different
frequencies produce different colors.
 Maxwell’s proposed equations needed to be tested to
know if they do apply on the physical world.
Heinrich Hertz

 German physicist
 Through experimentation he was
able to generate electromagnetic
waves at the frequency we now call
the radio.

Guglielmo Marconi

 He successfully carried out the
first wireless telegraphy in 1895
and received the first
transatlantic radio signal in 1901.

The rest as they say is history.
Radar, television and videotape soon came
So next time you use your TV and watch a
movie, remember that without mathematicians
none of these marvels would have been